Aspalathus 1: Vergelegen Wine Estate

These photographs are of the genus Aspalathus (Fabaceae). The genus has some 290 species and is the largest legume genus in Southern Africa. It has great diversity of form and flower structure. Most species in the genus are recognised by a combination of characters such as leaf clusters, small pockets on the outside of the wing petals, an anther arrangement of either 4 long basifixed + 1 intermediate + 5 short-dorsifixed anthers or arranged as 4+6, or 5+ 5, long basi-fixed + short versatile anthers) and yellow flowers. Many species have prickly or spiny leaves.

The collection posted here are all from the Vergelegen Wine Estate [vergelegen.co.za]in the Western Cape Province in Southern Africa. They are conservation conscious organisation and have great wine tastings (worth a visit). They have cleared large stands of alien vegetation on the estate to help restore the natural veld. All of these species were photographed on a day's outing in late 2011 when I accompanied a local chapter of the Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers (CREW [sanbi.org]) Programme. The two flower inserts of Aspalathus excelsa are provided courtesy of the Fernkloof Nature Reserve.

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